Madhu Latha
Incredible India ; A diverse India ; Versatile India ; Enigmatic India ; Intoxicating India ; Spiritual India

India has been called many names by those who see it. India appears as such to each as those who see it that way. Come take a look at my India through my eyes...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Visiting Amritsar

Amritsar the holiest place for the Sikhs and the home of the beautiful and divine golden temple. The golden plated gutrudwara glitters in the Indian sun while the mirror image is reflected in the delicate waves of the holy pool that surrounds the temple. This serene place offers tranquility of the place attracts lot of piligrims who spend praying in this temple to find themselves closer to God. The busy bustling bazaars of the city strike a chaotic contrast to the temple within. These streets are packed with boistrous, joyful sikhs who love to party. There are a wide variety of street food and street side shopping opportunities that the colourful delights they offer will dazzel you. Come to Amritsar for a true Indian experience.

The original site for this city is granted by Akbar. Then again another Mughal king sacked Amritsar and destroyed the temple, it was rebuilt and the roof was copper plated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh from then on it was named as the golden temple. The temple suffered another crisis when in 1980 during the term of Madame Indira Gandhi as the Prime Minister. The civil unrest that existed between the Hindus and Sikhs during that time made the Golden temple of Amritsar a hotbed for military action which soon esculated and soon blood was spilled on this holy site as militants hid themselves here.

Amritsar has also seen much bloodshed before the Independence of India. Jallianwala Bagh Massacre marks a bloody spot in Indian History and the cruelty of British rule in India. The Brigadier General Dyer arrived with 150 troops and without warning fired on the men, women and children that were present there to attend a peaceful public protest against the British rule. After this atrocity commited by the British General, Gandhiji responded with 'Non-Cooperation Movement'announcing 'cooperation in any shape or form with the satanic governament is sinful'. This was the spark that blazed the fire for freedom in the heart of millions of Indians.

For more information

Tourist Information
Tourist Office ph: 0183-2402452; Queen's Rd.

Places of Interest
Golden Temple - Hari Mandir Sahib; Amrit Sarovar; Sikh Museum; Akal Takhat; Baba Atal Tower; Guru-ka-Langar
Jallianwala Bagh
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama (Ram Bagh)
Mata Temple
Sri Durgiana Temple
Ram Tirath Temple

India-Pakistan Border at Attari/Wagah
30 km from Amritsar is where the Border closing Ceremony takes place in the late afternoon. People come here to watch sharp looking guards briskly snap their feet and salute the flag. An patriotic feeling almost electric passes through all the viewers on either side as guards on both Indian and Pakistani side of the border perform a well rehersed routine of closing the border. Return taxis are available from Amritsar.

Where you can stay
The Golden Temple offers accomodation for free in Guru Arjun Dev Niwas. Foreigners are accomodated in Sri Guru Ram Das Niwas. Though rooms and dorms are basic with shared bathroom facilities.
Grand Hotel ph: 0183-2562424;
Hotel Le Golden ph: 0183-5028000;
Mrs Bhandari's Guest House ph: 0183-2228509
Hotel CJ International ph: 0183-2535900;
Hotel Indus ph: 0183-2535900;
Hotel Lawrence ph: 0183-2400105;
Top End
Mohan International Hotel ph: 0183-2227801;
Hotel Grand Legacy ph: 0183-5069991;
MK Hotel ph: 0183-2504610;
Hotel Ritz Plaza ph: 0183-2562836;

Where you can eat

Neelams (light eats) near Golden Temple
Punjabi Rasoi (Indian Continental Chinese veg) Golden Temple
Sagar Ratna (South Indian Veg) Queen's road 
Pizza Point (Pizzas and sandwiches) Phawara Chowk
Crystal Restaurent (Global favorites from lasagne to fish curry) Cooper Rd
Astoria Food Pavillion (veg & Non-veg)
Moti Mahal Delux (North Indian veg & Non-veg) Hotel Grand Legacy
Yellow Chilli (Veg Buffet) District Shopping Center
Barbeque Nation (veg & non-veg buffet)  MK Towers


Katra Jaimal Singh Bazaars is for traditional wear like Salwar kameez and saris, while the city's more modern shops can be found along Lawrence and Mall roads.


Getting there and away

Amritsar services domestic and international flights.
Air India ph: 0183-2508122
Indian Airlines ph: 0183-2213392; 39A Court rd.
Jet Airways ph: 0183-2508003; Ranjit Ave;
Kingfisher Airlines ph: 080-39008888; airport
Singapore Airlines ph: 0183-2500330
Uzbekistan Airways ph: 0183-2507744

Apart from the train station, a less busy train reservation office is at the Golden Temple. Trains are available from Delhi, Amritsar, Lucknow, Varanasi and Howrah.
Buses leave for Delhi, Chandigarh, Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, Dharmashala, Shimla, Manali.


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